July 20, 2019
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Vigil planned for Lewiston boy, 13, who drowned on class trip

Courtesy Lewiston School Departm | BDN
Courtesy Lewiston School Departm | BDN
Rayan Issa

A vigil has been planned for the Lewiston middle-school student who drowned on a class trip to Range Pond Tuesday.

Rayan A. Issa, 13, of Lewiston was playing football in a roped-off portion of the pond with his classmates shortly before noon Tuesday when he slipped below the murky surface of the water, Chief Deputy William Gagne of the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office said. The boy’s identity was released Wednesday morning.

After he went under, Issa’s friends immediately called for help, but school chaperones and the park’s lone lifeguard were unable to immediately find the seventh-grader as they searched underwater, Lewiston Superintendent Bill Webster said.

First responders from multiple towns rushed to the pond, and at 12:17 p.m., a firefighter pulled the unconscious boy from the water. Emergency crews attempted to revive him on shore before bringing him to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, where he was pronounced dead.

“Rayan was very well-liked,” Webster said Wednesday morning. “He always had a smile on his face and had a great sense of humor.”

A vigil for 13-year-old, who attended school in the district since he a kindergartener, will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the entrance of the Lewiston Middle School gym, Webster said.

Issa was one of 133 LMS students who turned in a permission slip to attend the end-of-the-year field trip at the state park in Poland, Webster said. Eleven chaperones and one life guard supervised the group as they played.

Calling the drowning a “real tragedy,” Webster said Tuesday the district would “reflect on our procedures and what transpired” after reviewing an investigation of the death by the sheriff’s office.

Gagne on Wednesday asked witnesses to the drowning to contact his office at 207-753-2599.

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